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Medical Liens Affecting Personal Injury Settlements

On Behalf of | Jan 16, 2018 | Personal Injury

Dealing with the aftermath of an automobile accident can be an exhausting endeavor. Besides making arrangements to repair or replace your vehicle, you must deal with both the at-fault driver’s insurance company and your insurance company, schedule and attend medical appointments to assess potential injuries, and possibly consult with an attorney to protect your legal interests.

Complications inevitably arise when an automobile accident victim has zero to minimum health insurance coverage.

Specifically, the victim most likely needs immediate medical attention for personal injuries. However, an automobile accident victim who has no health insurance stands to incur thousands of dollars in medical bills from multiple medical care providers. Examples of common medical care providers in this context include hospital emergency rooms, radiologists, pain specialists, and chiropractors.

In this particular situation, the majority of health care providers will require the patient to execute a contract which grants a lien on any future settlement proceeds for personal injuries. The purpose of the lien is to arm the health care provider with a mechanism to collect payment on the outstanding medical bills. The automobile accident victim who receives settlement proceeds for personal injuries must ensure prompt payment and satisfaction of any and all liens. Otherwise, the victim risks dealing with collection agencies, lawsuits, and judgments stemming from nonpayment of medical bills.

An automobile accident victim can take proactive measures in dealing with medical care lienholders.

Iowa law mandates that any hospital holding a lien against potential personal injury settlement proceeds must pay a proportionate share of the attorney’s fees and costs incurred by the accident victim. Accordingly, the lienholder most likely will agree to a balance reduction which represents its share of attorney’s fees and associated costs. Additionally, it may be beneficial for the automobile accident victim to request that the medical provider write off the balance. Although most medical care providers will not agree to a complete write-off, the provider may agree to work toward an amicable resolution.

For more information on your legal rights if you have sustained personal injuries in an automobile accident, please call Telpner Peterson Law Firm LLP, today at 712-309-3738 for legal advice to properly protect your interests.